Navigating the world of bank marketing can be difficult. Marketing is such a broad topic, and it’s not always easy to draw the line between your community bank marketing ideas and sales at your bank.
There is no perfect solution or way to track everything, but there are ways to take marketing and distill it down into a few actionable ideas that you can report back on with specificity.
That’s what we’re here to talk about today. If you pick any of these and really dive in, you’ll have the best chance at increasing your bank deposits and client base.
Just remember that the best marketing is thoughtful without being pushy, creative, genuinely useful, and ties a direct line between the problems your customers face and the solution your product provides.
Without further adieu, here are 15 community bank marketing ideas that really work:
1. Nail down your local marketing
One of the most important things you need to do at every branch you operate in is to make sure your local marketing is sound. 93% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and local SEO is king for businesses that are location-dependent, e.g. a local bank branch.
Here’s exactly what should check when conducting a local marketing audit:
- Make sure your Google Business profile is complete. This means having the right address, 5-10 good pictures, a description with relevant keywords like “checking accounts”, “auto loans”, etc. Once you log in to your account, GMB will guide you through the steps you need to take. Get that profile up to 100%, update it 1-2 months, and make sure to include any events or new services in those updates.
- Update all local directories with up-to-date information. This is a bit of a pain, but chances are there are a variety of local directories that your business is listed in. Everything from Yellow Pages to FourSquare, to the BBB, needs to have the same contact information for your bank. If Google notices discrepancies between your addresses, it could penalize your rankings. There are also software companies that can do this for you for a fee, including Moz Local and Yext.
- Include local keywords and language on your website. By “local keywords” we mean language and/or information specific to your geographic location. If you’re part of a national franchise or company, make sure your branch has a unique landing page dedicated to it.
2. Set up local Google Ads campaigns
One clever strategy is to set highly local advertising campaigns that are evergreen, meaning you never have to turn them off. For example, if you operate in a town called Maryville, you should absolutely be bidding on keywords like “checking account maryville”, “best banks maryville”, etc.
The best way to approach this is to figure out your average customer lifetime value and then figure out how much you can spend on ads per customer. For example, if you make an average of $550 per customer over a year, then bringing customers in for less than that makes it a profitable venture.
If you’re a community bank, a great strategy here is to highlight exactly what separates you from your corporate competitors on the landing page you send your paid traffic to. Try to combine similar copy from the ad they converted on with your key sales points from the get-go.
3. Use retargeting ads to reach website visitors
Another important type of evergreen campaign to set up with your bank is what marketers call a retargeting campaign. By using Facebook or Adwords tracking code, you can retarget anyone who has visited your site but isn’t a member, and you can also send them specific content based on what pages they looked at.
For example, if you saw that someone visited the auto loan page, you could send them an ad the next time they’re on Facebook reminding them why you’re the best choice and encouraging them to reach out. This all happens automatically when set-up correctly, and it’s an awesome resource to have working for you while you sleep.
Even more awesome? Users that are retargeted to are 70% more likely to convert.
4. Partner with relevant businesses
Part of running a community bank is, well, contributing to the community! A great way to do that is to figure out who the business leaders are in your community that also serve your ideal client.
If you know that your best clients are business owners, maybe you can partner with the local entrepreneurship center on business loans, for example.
Make a list of interesting companies and start reaching out! Just keep in mind that you should choose your partnerships carefully. Once you establish a relationship your brand will be associated with that company, so you need to make sure they share similar values.
5. Release useful content
Content marketing is king, but you’re wasting your time unless you release content that is genuinely useful to your customers. And genuinely useful content takes time and expertise to create, so if you are thinking about creating content, do so with a purpose; provide helpful information that is directly related to your customers’ issues.
Continuing with the entrepreneurship example, maybe you write a long-form blog post about how to search for office space is your specific city. Be detailed, specific, and then let them know you have the best rates for real estate loans in the city. That’s the content that works — not just retweeting stock market numbers or saying something that has already been said.
6. Host a free financial skills series
Hosting financial classes is a wonderful strategy for generating leads for a local community bank. Financial literacy is often overlooked in public education, and offering free or cheap classes on a weekly basis at your branch could be a great way to meet the very clients you’re trying to attract.
All you need to do is hire an instructor or pay an employee overtime, develop a curriculum idea, and then figure out an offer you can give to any of the students.
7. Highlight the ways you give back
Local customers love to see businesses bringing sustainability to their city. Whatever you can do to showcase your charitable donations and ways of giving back, do so. That means sending out email newsletters, creating an individual page on your website, and more.
If applicable, talk about how your customers’ decision to join your bank has a direct positive impact on the community.
8. Use demographic data to tailor your offers
If your bank has had success from direct mail and other direct marketing efforts, use public demographic information to specify your message. People in the wealthiest part of town probably don’t need information on a checking account, and lower-income families probably aren’t thinking about advanced divestment strategies.
Check out sources like Zillow to identify neighborhoods and tailor your offers based on that information.
9. Diversify your marketing by customer persona
Every single bit of marketing you do should have a specific customer persona in mind. Customer personas are fictional representations of your best customers based on your actual customers. They should feel like real people, and by painting them as such you can keep this character in mind as you write and create strategies.
If you don’t have your top 3-4 outlined, that’s your first step. Once you do that, think critically about every marketing material you create and make it as tailored to a specific persona as possible. This works best when it’s tied to a specific offer as well.
10. Create unique landing pages for your offers
Creating a customer experience that has continuity can do wonders for your conversion rates. If your customer sees an ad and clicks over to your website, whatever page they land on should feel similar in brand, offer, and language. The less friction you have between any of your marketing channels and efforts, the more effective you’ll be.
In short, even if your marketing is taking place on different channels, each channel should be related and under the same brand umbrella.
11. Better serve your existing customers
It’s always more expensive to get new customers than it is to keep existing customers, so you should take time to think about how you can increase your retention rate and diversify the services that your customers use.
Whether it’s encouraging those who have a checking account to open a brokerage account or reminding your customers that you’re there for financial assistance during every big financial move (e.g. housing), you can find success in increasing your overall customer lifetime value on average.
12. Use effective onboarding to reduce churn
Gather all of your onboarding documents and touchpoints into one document and take a look. Does it make sense to increase or reduce the number of touchpoints? Are there ways to make it more useful? When do new customers tend to leave?
Identify the points when your churn is highest and develop strategies for reducing that churn. For example, if you notice that 3 months after a customer opens a checking account they tend to leave, then make sure you send emails up and through that point.
Or maybe you’ve noticed that once people make a transfer into their new account, they are 60% more likely to stick around for 6 months or more. If that’s the case, then your system, employees, and marketing efforts should be geared toward getting them to complete that initial transfer.
This is known as a key performance indicator, or an action that is extremely important to the completion of a sale, and identifying these KPIs and then marketing toward them is how the best marketers operate.
13. Invest in a CRM
Spreadsheets can only get you so far, and it pays to spend time analyzing how you conduct your marketing efforts. Investing in a CRM that keeps track of all of your leads in one place and gives you a simple pipeline to follow and lists all of your touchpoints with each lead can do wonders for your community bank.
Efficiency should not be overlooked when evaluating your marketing and sales efforts! If you can be 10% more efficient, you have the ability to reach 10% more people — that’s an instant win without changing your strategy.
14. Offer legitimate amenities in the lobby
While online and mobile banking is reducing foot traffic in banks, that doesn’t mean you can give up on making your lobby a welcoming place. Customers are more likely to stick around if they look forward to going to the bank.
Maybe that’s because the tellers are particularly friendly or you serve surprisingly good coffee — whatever it is, do what you can to make your lobby a place of convenience and fun instead of just another chore.
15. Survey your best customers
When in doubt, ask! Offering a detailed customer service survey in return for a gift card or giveaway can really tell you a lot about your customers
Make sure to ask questions about why they chose you and what they would like to see in the future from your bank. Ask why they left their other bank. Ask the hard questions and review the data thoroughly. Then, develop specific bank marketing strategies from those responses.
Beyond bank marketing
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